SHAFAQNA - Bangladeshi police say they have made three arrests after a garment factory outside Dhaka collapsed, killing more than 300 people.
The building's owners and an engineer who was responsible for maintenance were arrested on Saturday after the death toll rose to 324.
"We've arrested Bazlus Samad, the chairman of New Wave Buttons and New Wave Style factories, and Mahmudur Rahaman Tapash, a managing director of one of these plants, after midnight," Shyamal Mukherjee, deputy chief of Dhaka police, told AFP news agency.
One manager for the New Wave Styles company, one of the five manufacturers in the building, said the owner had consulted an engineer but then ignored his warnings.
"Those who're involved, especially the owner who forced the workers to work there, will be punished," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told lawmakers.
"Wherever he is, he will be found and brought to justice."
The police said they plan to arrest at least ten more, after the Hasina's statement.
Widespread anger has been fuelled by revelations that factory bosses forced 3,000 workers to continue working on Wednesday despite police orders to evacuate the building because of cracks found in the structure the day before.
Thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh protested on Friday.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Friday as protesters attacked factories and smashed vehicles, forcing many garment factories to shut down operations.
"The situation is very volatile. Hundreds of thousands of workers have joined the protests," M Asaduzzaman, an officer in the police control room, told the AFP news agency. "We fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse them."
He said some of the protesters were armed with bamboo sticks and their actions had forced factories at Gazipur, just outside the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, to close for the day.
Mustafizur Rahman, the deputy police chief of Gazipur, said workers had attacked factories, smashed vehicles, burnt tyres on the roads and tried to torch roadside shops on the sidelines of the rally.
"They are demanding the arrest and execution of the owners of the factories and the collapsed building at Savar," he told AFP.
The overnight rescue of 45 people late on Thursday who were trapped inside the debris of the eight-storey building in the commercial suburb of Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, raised hopes of thousands of relatives.
Al Jazeera's special correspondent, not named for security reasons, said that the rescue workers did not have proper equipment.
"It's quite a risky operation and concerete can collapse at any moment on whoever is alive on the inside," said our correspondent reporting from Dhaka.
An estimated 2,000 people had been rescued in two days, at least half of them injured, but up to 1,000 people remained unaccounted for, the Reuters news agency reports.
It prompted new criticism of Western companies who were accused by activists of placing profit before safety by sourcing their products from the country despite its shocking track record of deadly disasters.
British low-cost fashion line Primark and Spanish giant Mango have acknowledged having their products made in the collapsed block, while a host of brands including Wal-Mart and France's Carrefour are investigating.
Italy's Benetton placed large orders with one of the suppliers, documents found by activists appeared to show, but the group has denied having links to the building.
The US said it could not confirm whether any US companies were sourcing garments from the complex, as protesters in San Francisco targeted the headquarters of Gap with banners reading "No More Death Traps".
"But it does underscore that there's a need for the government, owners, buyers and labour to find ways of improving working conditions in Bangladesh," Patrick Ventrell, a deputy State Department spokesman, said.
Human Rights Watch said the tragedy showed there was an "urgent need to improve Bangladesh’s protections for worker health and safety".
"Reforms should include a drastic overhaul of the government's system of labour inspections and an end to government efforts to thwart the right of workers to unionise," the rights body said.
"Given the long record of worker deaths in factories, this tragedy was sadly predictable," Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement published on the group's website.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) A second suspect was arrested on Monday after the rape of a five-year-old girl who Delhi police say was left for dead in a locked room, a case that has sparked a fresh wave of protests against how Indian authorities handle sex crimes.
Pradeep Kumar was arrested on Monday in the eastern state of Bihar, about 620 miles (1,000km) from Delhi, and was being brought to the capital, police said.
Police said questioning of the first man arrested in the case, Manoj Kumar, led them to the second suspect. Manoj Kumar, 24, who was arrested on Saturday in Bihar and has since been flown back to Delhi. Kumar is a common last name in India and the two men are not related.
The men are accused of abducting, raping and attempting to murder the five-year-old, who went missing on 15 April and was found two days later by neighbours who heard her crying in a locked room in the same New Delhi building where she lives with her family. The girl was alone when she was found, having been left for dead by her attackers, police say.
The girl was in critical condition when she was transferred on Thursday from a local hospital to the largest government-run hospital in the country. DK Sharma, medical superintendent of the state-run hospital in Delhi where the girl was being treated, said on Monday she was responding well to treatment and that her condition had stabilised.
"She is much better today and her wounds are healing well," Sharma told reporters.
The attack came four months after the fatal gang rape of a woman on a Delhi bus prompted outrage across India about the treatment of women in the country.
On Sunday, for the second consecutive day, hundreds of people protested outside police headquarters in the capital, angry over allegations that police failed to act after the girl's parents told them she was missing.
About 100 supporters of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata party demonstrated outside the home of the chief of the ruling Congress party, Sonia Gandhi, demanding that the government ensure the safety and security of women and girls in the city.
The protesters also demanded that the Delhi police chief be removed from office and that police officials accused of failing to act on the parents' complaint be dismissed.
"Police and other officials that fail to do their jobs and instead engage in abusive behaviour should know that they will be punished," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of New York-based Human Rights Watch.
Police said they detained more than 50 protesters when they tried to break down barricades on the road leading to Gandhi's house. The protesters were released after a few hours.
Police also placed restrictions on gatherings of more than four people on the main avenue in the heart of Delhi after university students said they planned to hold a demonstration there. Despite the police order, about 100 students gathered at the iconic India Gate monument and held a peaceful protest late on Sunday.
Sexual crimes against women and children are reported every day in Indian newspapers, and women often complain about feeling insecure when they leave their homes.
On Sunday, the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, called for changes in attitudes toward women in India.
"The gruesome assault on the little girl a few days back reminds us once again of the need to work collectively to root out this sort of depravity from our society," Singh said at a meeting with civil servants.
The gang rape on a Delhi bus in December sparked outrage and spurred the government to pass tough laws for crimes against women, including the death penalty for repeat offenders or for rape attacks that lead to the victim's death.
Activists say passing strong laws is not enough, and that the government must ensure that police and the justice system crack down on crimes against women.
"Enacting strong laws are simply a first step, but it needs the government to focus urgently on implementation if it is serious about protecting children and other victims of sexual abuse," Human Rights Watch's Ganguly said.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Authorities in the United Arab Emirates said they have arrested a seven-member group linked to al-Qaeda which was planning actions against the country's security.
State news agency WAM said on Thursday the members were of various Arab nationalities and were recruiting, financing and providing logistical support to al-Qaeda. They had also sought to expand their activities to regional countries, WAM said.
"The cell was planning actions that would target the country's security and the safety of its citizens and residents, and was carrying out recruitment, and promoting the actions of al-Qaeda," WAM said.
"It was also supplying it (al-Qaeda) with money and providing logistical support and seeking to expand its activities to some regional countries," WAM said.
The US-allied UAE, a federation of seven emirates and a major oil exporter that has supported Western efforts to counter militancy in the region, has been spared any attack by al-Qaeda and other insurgency groups.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) A Pakistani court has ordered the arrest of former president Pervez Musharraf in connection with charges relating to his clash with the judiciary in 2007 when he was still in power, his spokesperson has said.
Islamabad High Court on Thursday ordered Musharraf be detained in connection with allegations that he committed treason when he sacked senior judges and declared emergency rule as he struggled to hold on to power.
"Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf's bail and ordered his arrest in the judges' detention case today," Mohammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League party, told Reuters.
Police made no immediate move to enforce the arrest order and Musharraf left the court flanked by his personal bodyguards for his farmhouse on the edge of Islamabad.
Police officer Ali Asghar said security personnel were deployed at the court building, but Musharraf's security team rushed him out and put him in a car before they could detain him.
Dozens of supporters gathered outside to denounce the decision, shouting "this is injustice," and "long live Musharraf" as senior members of Musharraf's political party swept inside the house for talks, an AFP reporter said.
Approach Supreme Court
A spokesman for Musharraf's All Pakistan Muslim League, said that the former president would appeal against the arrest order in the Supreme Court, but if the order was upheld, then he expected the authorities to put him under house arrest.
"Musharraf is composed and confident. We will go for an appeal in the Supreme Court today. If the court rejects our appeal, we will present ourselves to the law," APML spokesman Muhammad Amjad told AFP.
"I think if an arrest is necessary, the authorities will declare the farmhouse a sub-jail," he added.
The case is one of three against Musharraf in the Pakistani courts. He is also accused of conspiracy to murder opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and over the death of a Baluch rebel leader during a military operation in 2006.
The Supreme Court is also hearing a separate petition from lawyers, demanding that Musharraf go on trial for treason for subverting the constitution by imposing emergency law in November 2007, a move which hastened his downfall.
The former army chief returned to Pakistan last month after nearly four years of self-imposed exile to contest a May 11 general election, despite the possibility of arrest on various charges and death threats from the Pakistani Taliban.
Election officials had barred Musharraf from running for the National Assembly earlier this week, effectively derailing his attempts to regain a place in politics by standing at the polls.
Pakistan's military has ruled the nation for more than half of its 66-year history, through coups or from behind the scenes. It sets foreign and security policy even when civilian administrations are in power.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) Iraq says its security forces have arrested 47 ‘terrorists’ on the charge of smuggling weapons from Iraq into Syria,Press TV reports.
Iraqi authorities said a group of militants with the al-Nusra Front terrorist group has been captured in Anbar Province, which is close to the border with Syria. Large caches of weapons were also seized.
The turmoil continues in Syria as the army battles foreign-sponsored militant groups in the country.
Damascus has time and again called on its neighbors to control the flow of arms and militants into Syria.
Last week, the al-Nusra Front formally pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. The terrorist group has been behind many of the deadly bombings targeting both civilians and government institutions across Syria since the beginning of violence in March 2011.
While al-Qaeda-linked groups have been listed as terrorist entities under sanctions by the United Nations, militants in Syria, including those belonging to al-Nusra, have been receiving all forms of support from the West.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Rejecting growing hijabophobia in Lagos schools, a leading Islamic organization has planned a protest at governor’s office, urging him to end victimization against Muslim pupils as an infringement on the constitutional rights of pupils.
“What is happening in some public schools in the state is no more acceptable,” Zhikirul-lahi Sulaiman, Assistant -General Secretary of Muslim Students Society (MSS), told Leadership newspaper.
“It is clearly an infringement of the rights of the students and so a clear violation of the constitution.”
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Lagos authorities have banned the wearing of hijab at schools. The Muslim outfit is also outlawed in most south-western states.
The MSS protest was planned to condemn repeated victimization of Muslim students donning hijab at school
Blocking the entrance to the office of the governor, protesters carried placards saying “Hijab is our right” and “Stop this Hijabophobia”.
They were referring to latest incidents in which Muslim students were punished for donning hijab.
"Imagine a JSS one student of Kadara Junior school, Ebutte Metta was recently given 43 strokes of the cane by one of her teachers just because she wore Hijab to school,” Sulaiman said.
"Barira Tajudeen, another student of Mafoluku Senior Grammar School, Oshodi was on Feb.20 suspended by her school authorities for covering her head with Hijab,” he added.
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
The Muslim outfit has been in the eye of storm since France banned it at public schools in 2004.
Since then, several countries have followed suit.
The hijab ban won flaks from Nigerian Muslims, urging the government to end “arbitrary harassment of our pupils in Hijab.”
"This is one harassment, too many,” Sulaiman said.
The constitution of the country recognises the right of everyone to practice any religion of his choice. This ugly trend must stop", he said.
Hijab ban has already been stirring controversies in Nigeria for months.
Last April, a group of Muslim lawyers said they were to sue the state government of Nigeria’s largest state of Lagos to reverse a ban on the wearing of hijab at schools.
The move followed the failure of talks with the government to convince Lagos authorities to reverse its ban on the Muslim headscarf in schools.
Muslims make up 55 percent of Nigeria’s 140 million population, while Christians account for 40 percent.
Ethnic and religious tensions have bubbled for years between the two religious communities, fuelled by decades of resentment between indigenous groups, mostly Christian or animist, who are vying for control of fertile farmlands with migrants and settlers from the Hausa-speaking Muslim north.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Malik Ishaq, leader of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) group, has been arrested by authorities in central Pakistan.
Ishaq surrendered on Friday in front of media in his home in the city of Rahim Yar Khan.
Ishaq's surrender comes less than a week after the armed pro-Sunni group, banned since 2001, claimed responsibility for a market bombing that killed more than 80 Shia Muslims in Balochistan province.
Ashfaq Gujar, a senior police officer, said Ishaq, arrested on government orders, has been sent to a high-security jail as he has been detained for one month under pre-emptive law.
Ishaq and his associates have been investigated in the past. Ishaq himself was imprisoned for 14 years on charges, never proven, of killing Shias. He was released in July 2011.
Ishaq was briefly detained last year following attacks against Shias.
LeJ has targeted the Hazara ethnic minority in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, for several years now.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The Pakistani Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of Raja Pervez Ashraf, the country's prime minister, in connection with a corruption case, officials say.
The court ordered the arrest of Ashraf on Tuesday morning, in case relating to contracts for the purchase of rental power plants by the federal government when Ashraf was the federal minister for water and power.
Ashraf, in his capacity as minister for water and power, "violated the principle of transparency, therefore, [his] involvement in getting financial benefits out of the same by indulging in corruption and corrupt practices cannot be overruled", the order said.
The supreme court ordered the arrest of 16 people, including Ashraf, and directed authorities to present him in court on Thursday, Aamir Abbas, a lawyer for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), said.
"The chief justice ordered that all concerned, regardless of their rank, who have been booked in the case be arrested and if someone leaves the country, then chairman of [anti-corruption watchdog] NAB will be held responsible along with his investigating team," Abbas said.
Fawad Chaudhry, an adviser to the PM, condemned the court's order, calling it "unconstitutional".
Asif Ali Zardari, the Pakistani president and co-chairman of Ashraf's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), called a meeting of all parties of the ruling coalition in Karachi on Wednesday in the wake of the announcement.
"[Raja Pervez Ashraf] was the power and electricity minister and during that time he is said to have embezzled millions of dollars, the case was pending at the Supreme Court and the court therefore decided that the PM should be arrested immediately," Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reported from Islamabad, the federal capital.
"There were serious accusations that the PM was directly involved as minister in siphoning off millions of dollars."
Tuesday's court order came as Tahir-ul-Qadri, a populist Muslim leader, demanded the resignation of the government in protests attended by thousands of followers in Islamabad.
His supporters welcomed the news, celebrating at their sit-in protest outside the parliament building.
Separately, Imran Khan, leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, announced that his party would call for nationwide protests if a caretaker government was not announced within eight days.
Pakistan's benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange index fell by nearly three per cent after the news of the supreme court order, highlighting investor anxiety over political uncertainty.
Yousuf Raza Gilani, the previous prime minister, was dismissed by the supreme court in April last year after being found guilty of committing contempt of court by refusing to send a letter to Swiss authorities related to corruption investigations against Zardari.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al Jazeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Turkey's former armed forces chief was detained Thursday in an investigation into the military's role in the so-called "post-modern coup" of 1997, which pushed the country's first Islamist-led government out of power, local media reported.
On Thursday state prosecutors investigating the case ordered the arrest of Ismail Hakki Karadayi, chief of general staff from 1994 to 1998, Turkish television stations said -- the latest humiliation for the formerly all-powerful military.
Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, who pioneered Islamist politics in Turkey, resigned in June 1997, months after the military-dominated National Security Council warned him over policies it perceived as undermining the secular constitution.
The episode was dubbed Turkey's "post-modern coup" as the generals used pressure behind the scenes to force Erbakan from power rather than the direct intervention employed in three outright coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was partly founded by members of Erbakan's Welfare Party after it was outlawed, has sharply curbed the influence of the military since coming to power in 2002.
It has launched investigations into coup plots by a military elite which long saw itself as guardian of the secular ideals of Kemal Ataturk, founder of the modern Turkish secular republic.
More than 300 military officers were sentenced to jail in September for plotting to overthrow Erdogan almost a decade ago, while nearly 300 other people -- including politicians, academics, journalists and retired army officers -- are on trial, accused of orchestrating political violence.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- It never ends, does it? A Floriday teen was arrested on Thursday for posting on Facebook that he was going to “bring a gun to school tomorrow and shoot everyone.” A parent saw the threat and reported it to police in St. Lucie County Sheriff’s office, leading to the boy’s arrest. A spokesman for the sheriff says the student did not seem to have access to weapons. He is currently being held at the juvenile detention center.www.shafaqna.com/English